Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) WOMEN S POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN INDIA Celebrating 30 Years

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1 Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) WOMEN S POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN INDIA Presentation for session Boosting Women s Participation and Voice in Governance CIVICUS World Assembly, September 2012 An International Centre for Learning and Promotion of Participation and Democratic Governance Celebrating 30 Years

2 Indian National Agenda for Women s Empowerment 1990 National Commission for Women 1991 National Committee on the Status of Women 1993 Ratification of UN CEDAW 1995 National Policy for the Empowerment of Women

3 73 rd and 74 th Constitutional Amendments 73 rd and 74 th Constitutional Amendments of 1993 mandate at least 33% reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies, at all tiers, including single posts There are 1.2 million elected women representatives in institutions of local governance in India - more than in the rest of the world put together

4 GULABI GANG Pink for women, Gang for not being submissive! Founded by Sampat Devi Pal in Uttar Pradesh, North India Women in pink saris, each of them poor and illiterate, join the Gang Gang protects the powerless, retaliates against violence of husbands, cracks down on those who abandon their families, fights corruption, force registration of cases for underprivileged people Have discovered in themselves strength and courage; fight for dignity and for rights

5 Pink Chhadi Campaign Pink Underwear Campaign is a non-violent civil society protest movement Against notable incidences of violent conservative and right-wing activism against perceived violations of Indian culture Triggered when a group of women were attacked in a pub in Mangalore, Karnataka, in Southern India They retaliated by sending pink underwear to the male members of the right-wing party on Valentine s Day (deemed to be against Indian culture )

6 Women Leaders of Today Increase in number of women leaders from two decades ago Citizen leaders in all sectors - Health, Education, Planning, Water and Sanitation Committees, Self-Help Groups Political leaders at all levels (national to local) Represented in local governance bodies due to affirmative action

7 Why Empowerment of Women in India? India has the lowest sex ratio (933 per thousand males) Low female literacy rate (54.16% compared to 75.85% for males) Only 2% of women workers are employed in the formal sector

8 Women s political leadership: National level Women s participation in politics: Rank 98 (Pakistan: Rank 51 and Nepal: Rank 18) Little over 10% women s representation in national parliament (Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) data) Almost 70% got tickets because they come from political families They are educated : Nearly 90% graduates; 60% have higher degrees Does not guarantee women s reservation bill will be passed pending for 15 years

9 Younger Unmarried Changing Profile of Women Leaders Literate often graduates Many from political families Existing recognition within community: often comes from being the wife

10 Women Leaders in India Completed graduation after marriage and one child Capacitated through PRIA s Preelection Voter s Awareness Campaign (PEVAC) and Governance Where People Matter Programme Stood for village council elections and won by huge margin Received firm support from husband for her ambition Roshini Devi, 36 years, Sarpanch of her village, felicitated by President of India

11 Women Leaders in India Left corporate job and city life Grandfather was a former sarpanch of the village Addressed delegates at the 11th Info-Poverty World Conference held at the United Nations Panchayats should be shut down : petty officials do not allow women elected representatives to work Chhavi Rajawat, 31 yrs, Sarpanch, Soda Village

12 Why Do Grassroots Women Leaders Need Support? Lack experience of leadership in governance Male domination in governance at all levels Existing political party systems have an add-on approach no special programmes for the grooming of women leaders

13 PRIA's Capacity Building Interventions Personal Level Developing self confidence Public speaking Media relations Prioritising issues in village level meetings Organising skills Develop independent identity

14 PRIA's Capacity Building Interventions contd.. At a Collective Level Gender sensitisation and awareness Agenda setting Conflict resolution and peace building General knowledge/current affairs Networking and collaboration Budgeting and account keeping

15 Impact of PRIA's Women's Political Empowerment and Leadership Program Building knowledge base Developing skills Increase in self-confidence Respect within families and community Clarity on rights and roles as citizens Solidarity amongst women Challenging male dominated spaces and roles

16 What helped Family support Gender sensitisation and awareness Capacity building Access to information Enhanced literacy levels Networking Membership with local CBOs Support from men families, community, elected representatives, government officials

17 Continuing Challenges Gendered identities, practices and culture Gendered policies, norms and systems Stereotyped gendered roles and relations with household Inferior self-image Role models of men as figures of power and political actors Masculinity of political culture and processes

18 Continuing Challenges contd.. Lack of gender mainstreaming in institutions An add-on approach Difficulty to maintain a work life balance. Lack of financial independence Violence including sexual harassment against women in leadership

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